Last April, I was approached about a 12-year-old girl with cancer. I was told that when the girl was happy, her blood levels would improve and she was at her happiest around horses. My father, Sonny Israel, was a mounted police officer in New York City for six years. He taught me a love of horses at an early age. I understand how interaction with these animals can be therapeutic.
The story of this girl put me on a path to explore ways to incorporate equine-assisted therapy at BSO. The mission of Equine-Assisted Therapy is to add joy to the lives of some of our county’s most vulnerable people. This prompted me to organize the first mobile Equine-Assisted Therapy unit in Broward County.
Since last August, BSO’s Equine-Assisted Therapy Program has reached more than 75 juveniles in the civil citation program, helping to keep these first-time offenders on the right path. Our program has also aided in the recovery of people with drug or alcohol addictions. Individuals with severe developmental disabilities, some without even basic verbal skills, have made positive contact with our horses as well.
I encourage anyone interested in this value-added therapy to contact us at 954375-6180. •
For more information about the Broward Sheriff’s office, please visit our website at www.sheriff.org